B.C.’s liquor reform laws getting dumb and dumber

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
December 15, 2016 - 6:51am

KAMLOOPS — Just great. Now we can look forward to riding the hotel elevator with a drunk guy sucking back a gin and tonic.

John Yap, the Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform, announced the latest liquor-law changes on Wednesday — hotel guests will soon be able to carry drinks from the hotel bar or restaurant back to “the comfort of their room.”

Not only that, hotels and resorts will be allowed to offer guests a drink when they check in. Welcome to our hotel, sir, have a shot of rye.

Yap’s terminology indicates where we’re going with this. It isn’t liquor any more. It’s “liquor products.” It’s not booze, or alcohol, it’s “alcoholic beverages.” All very civilized.

Says Poma Dhaliwal, president of the Alliance for Beverage Licensees, “Allowing our members to apply common-sense rules like allowing their guests to carry their unfinished drinks back to their room, or serving a complimentary cocktail upon check-in are changes that we have been working toward for some time.”

Philip Meyer, managing director of the Rosewood Georgia Hotel, said the new rules will “make them (guests) feel more comfortable.”

And the headline on the government’s press release makes it all sound so natural, so warm and fuzzy: “Get cozy with your cocktails at B.C. hotel and resorts.”

What makes swilling a brewski while navigating your way from the bar to your room “common sense”? How comfortable must we be? The question needs to be asked, do we need this?

Has the drinking public been so deprived that the world will be a better place if people are handed an “alcoholic beverage” as they’re signing in, or can now take their drink with them instead of finishing it in the bar?

The issue isn’t whether we should change outdated rules, but whether we need to carry it to the point of silliness. Quite a few of the recommendations make sense in the modern world, but others?

Who, with a lick of common sense, is going to want to drink alcohol while having their hair cut in a barbershop? Why, when we already have a premium signature liquor outlet a few dozen steps from a super market — as is the case in Kamloops — did approving the sale of wine in that super market become such a cause célèbre?

What’s next? Vending machines for booze on every street corner? Some countries do that, you know. Are they better off? Is it common sense? It’s not among the 73 recommendations of the B.C. Liquor Policy Review, but why not add a 74th while we’re on a roll?

Do we need the opportunity to drink everywhere we go? Or is it just getting to the point of dumb?

Mel Rothenburger blogs at ArmchairMayor.ca and can be contacted at [email protected].